Updated: Jan 31, 2015 12:50 pm Eastern Standard Time (GMT -05:00)
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Saturday, Jan 31, 2015




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Evolve Unlocks in Match-3 Game

The Evolve website has the announcement of Hunters Quest, a free-to-play match-3 "puzzle combat" game for mobiles based on Evolve, Turtle Rock's upcoming asymmetric shooter (thanks Eurogamer). This goes beyond the theme, as playing the mobile game can unlock bonuses in Evolve upon its launch next month, which may bother some purists, as the free-to-play game offers in-app purchases to speed up progress. The app will also feature top-down replays from the full game and other unlocks. Here's word on how the game and app will interact:

Mastery Boosts

Playing Hunters Quest will let players earn Mastery Boosts that will be applied to their Hunter character profile in Evolve on both their console and PC.
An example of this would be that you unlock Markov’s Lightning Gun Mastery Boost via Hunters Quest. Once you unlock the Mastery Boost in the mobile app, this will be saved to your my2K profile. The next time you fire up Evolve, the game will read the Mastery Boost unlock from my2K - and will increase your Mastery progression by close to 50 percent of its total amount.

NOTE: The maximum amount you can boost your Hunter Mastery progress for an item is a total of 50 percent. If your current progress is at 0 out of 100, the boost will take you to 50; if you’re already at 60 out of 100, the boost will take you to near complete for the current Mastery level.

Badge Artwork Unlocks:

You can earn unique artwork in Evolve by completing objectives via Hunters Quest. You will unlock badges by completing each of the four Bestiary Biomes in Hunter’s Quest, as well as leveling each Hunter up to their maximum amount.

Match Replay System:

And once Evolve launches, there’s a whole other half of the experience you’re able to access features like stats and leaderboards from your mobile devices. Maybe see your stats and how you rank compared to the rest of the world? How about a top-down replay of recent matches?

After you run a multiplayer round of Evolve, the last 10 replays are stored on your my2K profile that you are signed in with on your copy of Evolve. With the my2K account linked to Evolve: Hunters Quest, you have direct access to all that information, wherever you’re connected.

As of today this free-to-play game and second-screen app is available for iOS, Android, Amazon and Windows devices.

Android [LINK]
iOS [LINK]
Windows Phone [LINK]

Prison Architect Sells 1M

Prison Architect has sold more than one million copies in its alpha form as an early access release on Steam, according to a report on MCV. This is a significant turnaround for Introversion, as the British developer was on the brink of shutting down several years ago. A new alpha version 29 of their jail design game was just released, and here's a video showing off what it adds. Continue here to read the full story.

Star Trek Online Turns Five

The Star Trek Online website announces a milestone for Star Trek Online that Star Trek: The Original Series failed to achieve, as the game has now completed a five-year mission (thanks Jamie). Here's a bit on where the sci-fi MMORPG will boldly go from:

When Captain James T. Kirk took the Enterprise out, it was originally scheduled for a five-year mission, so five years has a pretty big significance in Star Trek lore. Seeing Star Trek Online mark a date of five years of live operations is a cause for celebration unlike any other year, and this anniversary we are pulling out all the stops.

This year, we’ve got two additions to the Anniversary content that will run from January 29th through February 26th of 2015. The first of which is a new Featured Episode called “Dust to Dust,” and the second is a new minigame where Q has tasked you with stabilizing Omega Particles across the galaxy in an effort to secure the keys to the new Kobali Samsar Cruiser Starship as well as craft some upgrade kits in the process.

Carmageddon: Reincarnation Public Beta Next Month

A Steam Community group announcement has word to expect a public beta test for Carmageddon: Reincarnation on February 14th, as Al Capone once taught the world that nothing symbolizes the romance of Valentine's Day like a good massacre (thanks Gamer's Hell). Here's word:

The Public Beta release includes Career Mode, Freeplay and Multiplayer. It’s got all the Achievements and Challenges. It’s got a full complement of cars, levels and arenas. It’s got Smelly Bush collectibles (does that make it the “Pubic Beta”? Course it does!)!

So don’t forget, it’s the PUBLIC PUBIC BETA – we want you to play, play, play and tell us what you think either in the forums, or through our support system.

And we’re still giving away the original games too in our Carmageddon collection – that’s FOUR games for the price of ONE! Yes, buy Carmageddon: Reincarnation and you also get the original Carmageddon (the Max Pack, which includes the Splat Pack), Carmageddon 2: Carpocalypse Now, and Carmageddon TDR 2000! So now’s the time to jump in, buckle up, put the pedal to the metal and PUNCH IT… Forget 50 Shades of Grey – get ready for 50,000 Showers of Gibs!!

Saturday Patches

Saturday Crowdfunding Roundup

Saturday Consolidation

Saturday Mobilization

Saturday Metaverse

Saturday Tech Bits

Saturday Safety Dance

Saturday Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

With the Super Bowl tomorrow, it is time for my annual suggestion to the NFL to consider changing the game from Sunday to Saturday. It's not like they are going to listen to me (or anyone else for that matter), but there's a better shot at this getting traction than getting Congress to declare the Monday after the game a holiday. It just seems a shame to have so many parties on what is a school night, not to mention the literal use of that term, as the game ending around 10:30 pm also makes the next day a problem for youngsters who want to watch. Seems like a no-brainer, and a much more valuable priority than trying to fix things that aren't really broken, like extra-point conversions.

Saturday Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Disaster Will Strike 4.
Hit The Troll - Level Pack.
Rage Zombie Shooter.
Link: An Irreverent Guide To Transhumanism And The Singularity. Thanks El Destiny.
Story: Pete Carroll, Robert Kraft both benefited from difficult breakup.
Science: New Technique Reverses Aging By Decades In Cultured Human Cells. Thanks JDreyer.
Planck: gravitational waves remain elusive. Thanks Slashdot.
Ask Ethan #73: The Multiverse and you. Thanks Slashdot.
Media: I am the Locker Room Guy. Spartacus defense always works.
Weird Al Reveals The Secret Nine Nerd Overlords.
Are You a Psychopath? Take the Test.
Super Bowl 2015: Here Are Some of the Best and Worst Commercials You'll See This Weekend.
Auction: The original Les Paul guitar goes up for auction.


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Friday, Jan 30, 2015

Bot Colony Ending

A Steam Community Group Announcement has word that Bot Colony is closing down on March 15th, about nine months after the adventure game went into early access following a failed Kickstarter (thanks GameInformer). Developer North Side explains that poor sales are not even sufficient to cover the modest $524.00/month cost of the game's backend servers, much less fund its development, saying it has only earned a total of around $10,000 after costing millions to develop. Word is: "I realize that some of you paid money to buy a game that will soon be impossible to play - because it requires online servers that cost money to keep running, while no money comes in," and this is costing about 40 developers from North Side their jobs, and the company's owner his home. Here's how they are winding things down:

I have advised Steam of the situation, and Bot Colony is no longer available to buy - in order to minimize the fallout when it will stop. We will keep the servers running until March 15, to give you enough time to enjoy the game that you bought. I hope you'll consider this fair. I'm offering to publish another video that tells the entire Bot Colony story - all the 12 episodes of Bot Colony, if you really care to see it (let's say if at least 10 people ask for it ). If anybody wants to buy Bot Colony knowing it will die March 15 - talk to Steam, and maybe they will sell it to you. For those who want to know the story that inspired Bot Colony and understand what robots could do in the near future, the Bot Colony novel is available here http://www.amazon.ca/Bot-Colony-Novel-Present-Future-ebook/dp/B00K7O6BSE 

Borderlands 2 Writer Leaves Gearbox

Anthony Burch took to Twitter to announce his departure from Gearbox Software, where he was the lead writer on Borderlands 2 and also wrote for Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, each noteworthy for their clever scripts. He explains he's writing for a new original series from RocketJump for Hulu: "Uh so I'm moving to LA to be head writer on this show http://www.rocketjump.com/?video=hulu-announces-new-original-series-rocketjump … I'll miss Gearbox a LOT but uh yeah this could be really fun" He also leaves open the possibility he'll return, saying: "Also there's a not insignificant chance I'll fall on my face and be back at Gearbox in six months sooo don't be surprised if that happens," also saying he's "still gonna do videogames stuff on the side." Thanks GameInformer.com.

Making History: The Great War Released

Making History: The Great War is now in full release on Steam following a run off-Broadway as an early access game. Here's word from Steam News:

Making History - The Great War: Take control as leader of one of the Great Powers during the era of the First World War and make the tough calls on how to manage your nation’s financial, technological, political and military decisions.

Will you spread your influence over the world, bolster your nation’s resources, or attempt to build a coalition of nations? See how your actions influence the rise and fall of empires in one of the most detailed WWI grand strategy games ever made.

Evolve Solo Trailer

This video shows off gameplay in Evolve, Turtle Rock's upcoming shooter (thanks CVG). Though most of what we've heard so far focuses on the game's multiplayer play, this clip focuses on single-player play. Word is: "You can experience everything Evolve has to offer offline, playing single player. The first match in this video features a single player as the monster against challenging AI hunters. The second features a single player controlling the full team of hunters by hot swapping between classes in battle." Continue here to read the full story.

STRAFE Trailer

This trailer offers a first look at gameplay from STRAFE, showing a pre-alpha version of this throwback first-person shooter to support the project's Kickstarter. Here's what the developers say about the clip: "Stephen and I finished our commentary late last night... and you can hear it in our voices. We're really excited to share this with you and hope that you see the potential of STRAFE® regardless of how sedated we sound! We're psyched to show you this where we are with STRAFE® even this early in development!" Thanks Eurogamer. Continue here to read the full story.

On Sale

  • Devolver Digital Bundle on GOG.com. Save up to 90%.
  • Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna) on Steam. Save 40%.

Evening Patches

Evening Interviews

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

QUAKE LIVE DDoS

QUAKE LIVE News announces that QUAKE LIVE is experiencing outages due to a denial of service attack against id Software's multiplayer first-person shooter that's been ongoing since yesterday. This has been severe enough to knock the website itself offline at times, but for now it is up, and explains: "Quake Live is experiencing issues due to a DDoS attack, and may be down intermittently while we seek to address the problem. We apologize for the inconvenience." Thanks Mike.

SEGA Layoffs

SEGA of America is relocating from northern California to southern California, reports CNBC (thanks VG247), saying the company is in the process of downsizing that will result in job cuts for about 300 employees, according to a PDF document. The CNBC story states that relocation packages are being offered to a number of employees, and that "SEGA’s game release schedule will not be affected by the move." Eurogamer notes that SEGA is saying they will increase focus on PC and mobile games going forward, and they also have a follow-up statement from the company saying there will be "limited" redundancies at Sega of Europe.

Blizzard Rumors: "Low Expectations" for Heroes of the Storm?

A post on The Firstadopter has a reworked version of a speculative article about what's going on at Blizzard which was first posted to Yahoo Finance, according to reddit (thanks Wallshadows), offering rumors covering a range of topics attributed to an "Activision Blizzard insider." Word is that Hearthstone numbers are "off the charts," and that a more PvE expansion is due soon. They say the business model for Overwatch is still in flux, and that this is more likely to arrive early next year than late this year. The purported insider also says the company has "low expectations" for Heroes of the Storm (apologies for calling this Heart of the Storm at first), and that the Diablo III team has been moved to an unannounced MOBA set in the StarCraft universe. While it does not mean that all the other speculation in the article is confirmed, it is interesting that the last bit about the Diablo team is the only item addressed by Blizzard, who responded with a denial of that particular point, saying the Diablo III team "is on continuing to support the game with patch content. We generally don’t comment on rumors or speculation, but I do want to make sure it’s clear that they’re not working on a secret project in the StarCraft universe."

Steamship Ahoy - Life is Strange

Steam News announces that Life Is Strange is now available, offering the first installment in DONTNOD's five-part action/adventure. They explain: "Life Is Strange is a five part episodic game that sets out to revolutionise story based choice and consequence games by allowing the player to rewind time and affect the past, present and future." Here's a launch trailer with the setup for the game. Continue here to read the full story.

Sid Meier's Starships Video

This video recaps the presentation of Sid Meier's Starships at PAX South, where a Firaxis Games "Megapanel" discussed the upcoming sci-fi strategy game (thanks PCGamesN). About halfway into the almost 50 minute clip they offer some gameplay footage along with a mix of concept art and cinematics. Word is: "Firaxis Games discusses the ties between Civilization: Beyond Earth and Sid Meier's Starships. Near the end of the panel, creator Sid Meier provides a live gameplay demo!" Continue here to read the full story.

American Truck Simulator Video

The SCS Software blog has a new feature taking us behind-the-scenes at the developer that includes this video and three others recapping a fan's visit to their studio. They also offer another video which includes footage from American Truck Simulator, taken from an alpha version of the upcoming transport sim. This comes with the following warning: "Don't forget that American Truck Simulator is still very much under development and features and environments may change prior to the official release." Thanks Rock, Paper, Shotgun via Cutter. Continue here to read the full story.

Left Behind Games Stock Scam

Accounting Today details the outcome of an investigation into a stock scheme involving Left Behind Games showing a deliberate effort to artificially inflate the value of the developer that specialized in games promoting Christian values, leaving us to judge what degree of irony this represents. The district court for the District of Hawaii entered a final judgment against Ronald Zaucha, holding him liable for over $2.6 million in disgorgement, interest and penalties after similarly finding the company's founder, Troy Lyndon, liable for over $3.6 million last August. Here's word on what happened:

On Sept. 24, 2013, the SEC had charged Lyndon and his friend Zaucha with scheming to falsely inflate the company's revenue by nearly 1,300 percent in the one-year period ended March 31, 2011 through sham circular transactions.

The SEC alleged that Lyndon, who served as the company's CEO and CFO, caused LBG to issue almost two billion shares of stock to Zaucha as purported compensation for consulting services to the California-based company. In fact, Zaucha provided few, if any, consulting services. The true purpose of the arrangement, according to the SEC, was to enable Zaucha to sell millions of unregistered LBG shares of stock into the market and then kick back a portion of his stock proceeds to the company in order to prop up its revenue at a time when it was in dire need of additional funds. The company's stock was suspended by the SEC when the SEC filed its complaint against Lyndon and Zaucha, and the registration of LBG's stock was revoked by the SEC on February 24, 2014.

Morning Crowdfunding Roundup

  • Moonman by Ben Porter — Kickstarter. "A magic mollusk summons a moonman to illuminate a dark world. A procedurally-generated adventure game for PC, Mac and Linux." About halfway funded about halfway through the campaign.

Morning Interviews

Morning Previews

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

We got another light dusting of snow today, but things are under control already. The forecast for Sunday in this area is for 11°F with a 60% chance of snow. Man do I wish the Super Bowl was here this year instead of last year. Does that make me a bad person?

Bad Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: One Screen Hero.
Devilish Candy House.
Alpha Wars.
Stories: Boom:  Inside a British Bank-Bombing Spree. Thanks Slashdot.
Rap mogul Suge Knight charged with murder.
McLaren-Honda together again as wraps come off 2015 challenger. Thanks David.
Science: George Lucas Rips Hollywood, ‘Stupid’ Cat Videos at Sundance. Thanks nin and lack of self-awareness.
Life as a Bionic Woman. Thanks Slashdot.
Collision avoidance predicts pedestrians’ behavior.
Media: FAVORITE GAME (REACT- Opinions #7).
Beckham Sets Record For One-Handed Catches.
This Bulldog can really sing. "If you're lonely, you can talk to me."



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